8:45pm Friday 8th February 2013
Reigate and Redhill Choral Society (RRCS) is taking the world of music into the world of work in an innovative scheme focusing on health and wellbeing.
For staff from workplaces are to discover the benefits of singing at work as part of the society's new Community Development Programme.
The project, supported by Legal and General, is the brainchild of RRCS music director Peter Farrant.
Mr Farrant, who began his professional career in 1993, has promoted new and unusual works alongside mainstream repertoire in the UK and overseas.
His London appearances have included The Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and St Paul’s Covent Garden, while overseas he has worked as far afield as Hungary and appeared in major venues throughout Europe.
For the last 20 years, Mr Farrant has designed, managed and implemented an extensive range of workshops, courses and projects.
His latest, the Music and Wellbeing scheme, is aimed at providing services for businesses looking to exploit the numerous benefits of vocal health and singing in the workplace.
Under the scheme, being run through RRCS' Community Development Programme, Mr Farrant is setting up and directing four Workplace Choirs.
The choirs at East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, the Children’s Trust in Tadworth, and at Legal and General’s offices in Kingswood and Hove, East Sussex, have been designed as vehicles for nurturing and developing skills, whilst uniting staff regardless of their background or experience.
Participants will be given expert professional tuition on a repertoire featuring popular classics, ranging from Mozart to Westlife, the chance to perform alongside a live professional orchestra and top international soloists, including acclaimed soprano Patricia Rozario OBE, and the chance to take part in a range of high-profile public events in the coming months.
The first of these will take place at Redhill's Harlequin Theatre, when representatives from the Workplace Choirs will give their debut performance as part of the Surrey Choral Festival on Saturday, March 23.
Mr Farrant said: “Research and studies carried out both in the UK and worldwide now suggest that the more music people make together the healthier and happier they are.”
He said: “RRCS, together with Legal and General, are committed to making a real difference through Community engagement and utilising a range of effective interventions to promote health and wellbeing based on available research.
“There is currently a very real danger that music education is being viewed as an optional extra - something that can be cut without damaging over-all attainment.
“Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Mr Farrant continued: “Music increases listening, concentration and attainment in subjects such as literacy.
“There is also positive impact on spatial reasoning, which is linked to mathematical thinking, and on physical co-ordination which assists handwriting.
“The necessity of working together in a group promotes teamwork and the development of leadership skills.”
He said: “Quite apart from the enjoyment and satisfaction individuals can attain, confidence and self-belief can rocket as a result of performance opportunities.
“Furthermore, singing within the workplace can assist with stress reduction, breathing, posture, neurological functioning, networking, belonging, trust, shared endeavour, and staff retention.”
Frances Borrer from Legal and General added: “Legal and General continues to support many projects and initiatives for the local communities where employees work and live.
“The enthusiasm shown by over 100 employees across Hove and Kingswood for the choir has been truly amazing.
“We want employees to be healthy and happy and the formation of the choir is just one initiative, as part of it its Health and Wellbeing programme, that offers them the opportunity to get involved and engaged in something they enjoy, makes them feel good, and which also makes a positive contribution to their local community.”
The Surrey Choral Festival will take place at The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, on Saturday, March 23, at 7.30pm. Tickets are available by calling 01737 276500.
RRCS has performed extensively abroad and in the UK with regular appearances at high-profile cathedrals, churches, concert halls and festivals.
In recent years the choir has undertaken a series of tours to European cities, including Paris, Brussels and Antwerp.
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